Anglers today are highly fortunate. In the old days they would have to wear cumbersome, poorly fitting fishing waders because that was their only option. Nowadays modern alternatives are available with your comfort in mind.
Waders do come in a diversity of materials, sizes and styles. You can spend a little or a lot of money and still find a set suited to the type of fishing, climate, season and waters you frequent. With that in mind, BestWaders.com is here to help make your decision easier by providing a clear overview of the different options available.
Waders come in three basic styles:
Hip waders provide easy on-and-off removal – a definite convenience. They wear easily with regular clothing and often times offer enough coverage to handle most wading tasks. They excel on smaller streams, and for activities such as launching and recovering boats, clamming, and big-game hunting in boggy terrain. This style of wader generally comes with belt straps to aid in holding them up.
Waist High Waders
Waist high waders wear like a pair of pants and bridge the gap between hip waders and chest waders. They feature belt loops and a belt to hold them up securely. This style of wader can give an angler that extra few inches of coverage often times needed to get where they need to go. They also leave the upper torso of the body completely exposed for warm weather comfort and increased mobility. This style of wader is ideal for moderately aggressive stream wading, getting in and out of drift boats while fishing, and any other wading activity where you need more coverage than a hip wader provides yet a chest wader might be overkill.
Chest waders are the most versatile of all the wader styles simply because they provide the most coverage. They are ideal for the aggressive wader that knows the likelihood of going chest deep in the water to reach a spot or standing in water over the waist to fish is going to be a common occurrence.
Even if you don’t plan on having to wade very deep, they can really be an asset when the occasional situation arises when you need to. The waters we wade can be unpredictable at times. It is always nice to have the coverage of a chest wader when encountering unexpected holes, drop-offs, and debris such as logs, strong currents, and waves. I’m sure sheer clumsiness has accounted for a fall or two also although I’ve never experienced that type of scenario. And if you believe that… All of the afore mentioned hazards can send a person for an unplanned swim that would leave them much wetter if they weren’t wearing a chest wader.
Safety should always be in the forefront of our minds when in the field. Always wear a wading belt when wading in chest waders. If a float tube or pontoon boat is going to be used, chest waders are the only way to go. On foul weather days they provide an excellent barrier to wind and rain, making them a great choice for the all-weather angler.
Types of Wader Materials
There is no perfect wader to match every season and application but a quality pair of breathable waders comes pretty darn close. Breathable waders are lightweight and extremely comfortable. They’re constructed with membranes that lock out exterior moisture while allowing your perspiration vapor to escape at the same time.
This means that you’ll stay dry all day whether you’re fishing leisurely or covering water quickly in warm weather. In the spring and summer, they can be worn with a pair of light shorts and a tee shirt. When fall and winter roll around, just slip into a quality base layer, some fleece wader pants, and appropriate top layers and you can handle surprisingly cold temperatures.
Breathable waders are definitely the most versatile and comfortable of all the material types. Knee and seat regions are generally reinforced with extra layers to provide additional strength and durability in these high stress/wear areas.
When the thermometer drops, it’s tough to beat the insulating qualities of a neoprene wader. Neoprene waders will keep your body warmer than any other type of wader material. Neoprene stretches and moves with your body, providing a fit-to-form feel and ease of mobility. This wader material is also extremely durable. One drawback of neoprene is that it is a non-breathable material. While neoprene is a great choice for cool to cold conditions, it can also be worn in warmer weather comfortably if you dress lightly. Nylon Waders
are durable, and inexpensive. They can be constructed to be lightweight or heavy-duty. For the angler on a tight budget or for anglers that just can’t seem to justify the price of a breathable wader, nylon waders fit the bill. As mentioned previously, nylon waders are non-breathable. If it is hot outside, or you are engaging in activity, any perspiration that’s produced by your body is going to stay inside of the wader.
Rubber waders are tough, durable, and heavy. Today, rubber waders are pretty much limited to hip wader styling. This is due to advancements in materials that would make rubber an illogical choice for any other style.
If you choose waist-high or chest waders, you also have the option of buying stocking-foot waders orboot-foot waders.
Stocking-foot waders require the angler to purchase wading boots or shoes to go overtop the wader’s stocking foot. This means that you can find footwear that’s not only comfortable but suited to different conditions. For instance, felt bottomed wading boots are great on slick surfaces, while studded bottoms help grip on mud and rocks. Rubber outsoles are easier to clean. Easier cleaning means you have less chance to cross contaminate or introduce potentially harmful species into new waters, and that’s a real consideration if you fish many different waters.
Boots with felt soles provide excellent gripping power on slick surfaces;rubber bottoms(right) are better for mud bottoms, grip out of the water and are easier to clean than felt. So, while wading boots or wading shoes are a bit of an added expense, they provide the option of having the right tread for different waters, if you buy more than one pair. And boots are transferable from stocking foot wader to wader if you’ve got more than one pair.
Are you buying the waders just for fishing or do you plan to wear them when you hunt ducks and geese?
Since most folks can only afford one good pair of waders, this is an important question. If you fish more than you hunt, then the type, thickness and color of the wader should be considered when compared against the type of fishing you normally do. The same is true if you hunt more days than you fish. What is the temperature of the water going to be the largest percentage of the time when you have waders on? It is a lot more bearable to be a little warm on a hot day than a whole lot of cold on a chilly one.
What kind of material should you choose? There are several different types of materials that you can select from when choosing your waders. This is the time that you really want to consider what you will be using the waders for and how often.Neoprene is probably the most popular wader material and for many good reasons. One, it is very durable and can take a lot of abuse.
Two, you can select which thickness, 3mm or 5mm that would suit your needs best. If the weather where you fish is mostly moderate with an exceptional cold day or if you have to walk a ways to get to your fishing spot or just walk a lot while you fish, then the 3mm would probably be your best choice.
If you live or fish in a colder climate, or plan to use your waders for hunting, then you might want to consider a pair of 5mm. Neoprene waders come in various colors from the more traditional dark brown to green, blue and even camouflaged. Other than getting a pair of dual purpose hunting fishing camouflaged, the color selection is strictly a personal choice.Over the past ten years or so, breathable waders have grown in popularity and are slowly replacing the neoprene wader as the wader of choice. One of the main reasons for this shift in popularity is the material from which the breathable waders are made.
Breathable waders are constructed from a permeable membrane such as Gore-Tex®, which allows moisture to escape through the wader even while in the water. The versatility of the breathable wader is another huge selling point. They can be worn in the hot summer months and sweat will not become an issue and they can be worn in the winter months with a set of sweat pants or fleece wader pants that will help keep moisture away from you and protect you from the cold water. The typical loose fit of breathable waders also make them a great choice for fishermen who have to walk a long ways to the secret fishing hole and they are extremely comfortable to use during a long day in a float tube or pontoon boat.You can also go “old school” and check out canvas waders, but they are getting pretty hard to find anymore.
They are cheaper than neoprene or breathable waders, but you are going to sacrifice a lot in flexibility, breathability and in overall weight of the waders. But, canvas waders are about as durable as the come and a great choice for somebody just starting out in the sport.
Nylon waders are also great choice for beginner fly fishermen. Nylon waders are a slight step up from the rubber waders that most beginners start out with. Nylon waders are lightweight and will keep you dry and warm. One disadvantage of nylon waders is that they can be hot, and because they are not breathable, it can cause a problem in the colder months when sweat builds up causing the fisherman’s clothes to become damp or wet.
Not only will this cause discomfort, it could lead to hypothermia if the angler should become too cold. The same is true even in the summer months when clothes become damp or wet and a fisherman is spending extended amounts of time in an ice cold mountain stream.Rubber waders are another choice, but they are continually losing their popularity due to the drop in prices of the neoprene and breathable waders. While the price of rubber waders might be attractive to somebody on a tight budget, you should consider that you will be giving up flexibility, breathability and weight with rubber waders. Due to the construction of rubber waders, they also pose a bit more of a safety problem than other types of waders. ALWAYS make sure you wear a wading belt securely fastened around your waist when wading with all waders, but especially true with rubber waders.
Wader Fitting Now that you have selected the type of material your waders are going to be made from, let’s talk about getting them to fit right. While keeping dry and warm might be our first priority for a comfortable day on the water, having a pair of waders that fits right is a close second.
If your waders do not fit right not only will you be uncomfortable, but also you will find that you will tire much easier, which could lead to a potential wading mishap. Improper fitting waders can also restrict your range of motion while climbing over rocks or getting in and out of a boat, all of which could also contribute to a wading mishap or fall that could cause personal or equipment damage.
Often, anglers purchase waders that fit too tightly. After all, we want to look svelte in the pictures of us holding up that trophy fish. Well, let’s put our vanity aside for a moment and consider a few things. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pair of waders that fit loose enough to allow us to put on an extra layer of clothing on those cold winter days when the steelhead are running? How nice will it feel to walk a mile down to Fisher’s Hole without having to fight our waders all the way?
Nowadays, many of us order from the Internet and have to take our chances on how our waders and boots will fit. Email the owner of the site and give them your height, weight and shoe size and they should be able to fit you that way. If you purchase from a fly shop or sporting goods store, take the time to try them on. Do a couple of knee bends and walk around a little bit. See if you can put a foot up on a stool. Remember you may be climbing up and down stream banks. Look too at the length of the legs, too long will cause folds which can rub and wear causing leaks. Sure, a couple of the other shoppers might think you’re a little loose up top, but you will find it to be time well spent.
What type boots and boot soles to get? Boot and boot sole selection is a lot like wader selection. Once again, what are you going to be using the waders for and under what types of conditions? Some waders have the boots connected to the wader in one piece. These are called boot foot waders. If you are going to spend most of your time in cold weather and water, they are by far the right choice.
They provide the best cold-water protection and most of them come insulated. Another advantage to the boot foot wader is they are low maintenance and are very easy to put on and take off. Because rocks and sand can’t slip into the boot, there is no need to put on gravel guards to protect your feet from getting rubbed raw.
Built in boots have no laces, which is a bonus and you don’t have to worry about arriving at the river with only one boot or with your wife’s boots as I once did.Stocking foot waders are probably the most popular type of waders on the market mostly because of their weight advantage.
They have the same type of construction as boot foot waders; but do not have the attached rubber boot. Instead, stocking foot waders have a neoprene sock attached to the bottom of the waders, which means you will have to purchase of pair of wading boots. In some ways this is good, because it allows you to purchase different boots for different river bottoms. It also allows you to wear flippers when in a float tube. The big disadvantage is that sand or gravel can find it’s way through your gravel guards and you will have to stop and clean out your wading boots. If not properly looked after, sand and gravel will eventually wear holes into the stocking foot, causing your waders to leak. Buy lugged sole boots if you are going to be fishing muddy-bottomed water and felt soles on rock or gravel-bottomed waters.
- Don’t be satisfied with the first wader that you encounter that looks halfway decent. Whatever it is, look at several options before you make your purchase. There is a good possibility that the more you look around, the more you will start to realize what is best for you, for instance specific capabilities, benefits, etc.
- Examine online reviews to find out what other consumers are saying about a unit you have considered acquiring. Amazon is a superb destination to look, not only since they generally have the very best prices, but they will often have in-depth user feedback you can read. Have a look at have to say, as well. This is an significant part of the process, specifically if you are selecting a higher priced item that you plan to use for a prolonged time period. Be sure you read what other consumers have to say concerning the item you are considering, regardless if you are obtaining it online or in a local store. Likelihood is the same thing that irritates someone else about the product will probably aggravate you as well.
- While expense is absolutely some thing to consider – expense should not be the most critical element in your decision. You definitely don’t require the most expensive product on the market, but you almost certainly won’t be satisfied with the cheapest alternative either. Everyone understands that you receive what you pay for.
- Ultimately, take notice of the data supplied on this website regarding what to consider when selecting the best product for your needs.